Best tunes of 2010: #5 Bedouin Soundclash (feat. Cœur de pirate) “Brutal hearts”

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At number five on my Best tunes of 2010 list, we have the other band from Kingston, Ontario: Bedouin Soundclash. Now based out of Toronto, the reggae and ska group was formed in 2001 by Jay Malinowski, Eon Sinclair, and Pat Pengelly. They had a relatively big radio hit with “When the night feels my song” off their second album, 2004’s “Sounding a mosaic”, and have since released two more albums but have been inactive since 2010. However, a new single was released just last year with the promise of a new album, possibly this year.

“Brutal hearts” appears on their 2010 album “Light the horizon”, never released as a proper single but there were two videos made available on YouTube (one of which you can enjoy below). The track doesn’t sound much like the band’s usual reggae self and this is not just because it features Québec singer/songwriter Béatrice Martin (aka Cœur de Pirate) in a duet with Malinowski. It’s a mostly drum driven track. The drummer at the time, Sekou Lumumba, is the other star of this show, getting under our skin with his rim shot, ticky tacky rhythms. Bassist Sinclair sidles up beside him, giving this not so laidback beat some muscle. And all the while, the male/female, rough-hewn versus smooth like wine, trading vocals yearn for love, any kind, whether or not it’s true or good.

“I don’t mind at all
I don’t mind that you only call me when you want
And I’m just glad you want me at all”

The song is like a tango. A sweaty and needy dance, late at night, in a dark basement club. The drummer starts the aforementioned rhythm, tired from a night of playing but somehow finding his second wind. The bassist, and I’m imagining an upright bass here, leans heavily against a ledge and so does his instrument, his shirt undone a number of buttons, whiskey on the rocks close to hand. And from somewhere deep in the night, a cello joins in, a sad and plaintive call. They are all only playing for the couple on the dance floor. They’ve never seen each other before and will likely never see each other again. They are the song. And for this brief moment, they are love.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2010 list, click here.

Best tunes of 2010: #23 Jon And Roy “Any day now”

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In July 2010, my wife Victoria and I flew out to Winnipeg to spend a few days with our friends, Sarah and Jorge, and their children. I had been to the ‘Peg a couple of times before with work but this time, it was for pure pleasure and during the summer, rather than in winter when I had previously been there. And our friends were gracious hosts, putting us up in their spare room and playing tourist with us with kids in tow. It was great seeing them and parts of the city I had not seen before but another real bonus for me was getting out to catch a part of the “world famous” Winnipeg folk festival.

Held annually at Birds Hill Provincial Park, it is an extremely well-run festival, right down to loosing the dragonflies the night before it begins to take care of the rampant mosquito problem. One of the features that I found really neat was the daytime “workshops” they held that collected different performers on the same stage to share ideas and songs and perhaps, even collaborate. I caught parts of a couple of these workshops and a full one that was thoroughly entertaining. This last was centred around the theme of hometowns, was led by Winnipeg native, John K. Samson (of The Weakerthans), and also included Works Progress Administration, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (of the film “Once”), and of course, Jon And Roy.

So this sunny Saturday afternoon workshop while lazing around in the grass in a Manitoba Provincial Park, all relaxed and civilized like, was my first introduction to Jon And Roy. And yes, “Any day now” was the song that made me sit up and take notice halfway through the workshop.

Jon Middleton (acoustic guitar) and Roy Vizer (bongo drum) were seated on the stools between John K. Samson and Hansard and Irglová, the two acts I was really there to see. On their third go round (I think it was), Jon And Roy jumped into this head-bopping number that teased both folk and reggae and was so laid back and grooving, it felt perfect in the sun as the dragonflies danced around catching mosquitos above our heads. And man, was it catchy as well. So much so that when they finished, Glen Hansard, upon taking the mike, started right back into that ear worm chorus of “Any day now, any day now, any day now, any day now, any day” and then, dedicated his next song to that one.

And yes, this British Columbia-based group is still a going concern, having released four more albums since 2010’s “Homes”, but don’t let the name fool you, the group is also more than just the duo inferred in their name. Still, acoustic guitar led, laid back folk reggae is their hallmark, and if that’s your thing, you might just want to give them a listen. “Any day now” is a great place to start. And it’s also a perfect song to lead you into the weekend. Enjoy.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2010 list, click here.